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Full text of "Flora Indica Vol-I"

INTRODUCTORY  ESSAY,                                  37
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and the Malay peninsula and islands, produce an abundance
of well-marked species of plants, whilst the dry, hot, lower
hills of Central India, with contrasted seasons, produce com-
paratively few, atid none presenting any great difficulties to
the systcmatist; as also' that the plains of the Gangetic valley
and of the peninsula, which have maxKed seasons, are com-
paratively poor in species, whilst those of the Cape, Australia,
and South America, also having decided summer heat and
winter cold, abound in species. Such discrepancies prove how
subtle an clement climate is* and how extremely cautious the
naturalist should be in generalizing upon its effects. They
especially warn us not to consider the influence of climate as
paramount in determining tJie distribution of species or pre-
valence of forms. We learn from them also that the primd
facie evidence in favour of definite creations is not to be lightly
put aside; and they suggest the propriety of instituting ob-
servations in proportional botany, as that branch of the science
may be called, which develops the relations between the num-
ber of orders, genera, and species, contained in an area, and its
climate and other physical characters.
Atid now that we are on the subject of variation, it ap-
pears advisable to impress upon the Indian botanist the value
of studying its phenomena in the field. We pledge our ex-
perience that he will find it the most pfofitable department of
systematic botany he can pursue; and that the result of his
investigations will be that he will take a wide and extended
view of the variations of species, consistently with their still
possessing certain definable limits. We shall offer a few re-
marks on this point under two heads:—variation of parts of
the same individual, and variation "between different 'indivi-
duals of the same species.
1. Variation in or (jam of the same individual plant. From
the luxuriance of the vegetation with which the Indian bo-
tanist i» so oftcti surrounded, and the rapidity of its develop-
ment, he lias advantages for pursuing this.'inquiry that ob-
servers in rolder climates <U> not possess. In geuoral terms,